Faster, Less Expensive Wide-Format Printing
California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) Printing Services’ 12-color, 60˝ Canon imagePROGRAF iPF9100 was reaching the end of its life. Installed in 2008, it had become unreliable and was experiencing frequent paper feeding and jamming issues.
Although Laura Sicklesteel, manager of CSUSB Printing Services, considered replacing the machine with a latex wide-format printer, she ultimately decided to stick with the iPF series. In March, the in-plant installed an eight-color, 60˝ Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-6000S.
“We like the quality coming off of the aqueous printers. We have had two of the Canon iPF series — the iPF9100 and an iPF6400 [which is still in use]. We’re getting consistent output, and for the price point, it really made sense,” Sicklesteel explains.
Although the iPF9100 touted 60˝ capabilities, Sicklesteel says that in reality it could only produce an image of approximately 58.5˝, and Printing Services would trim off the edges. With the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-6000S, the shop can print full-bleed, edge-to-edge 60˝ images, eliminating the need to trim.
Not only has the new printer opened up image size capabilities, it has decreased production time with its speed and two rolls of media. Without the need to switch out the media, turnaround times have decreased. And, as Sicklesteel explains, the wide-format printer also “prints faster out of the box.”
Full-bleed printing and speed have endeared Sicklesteel to the PRO-6000S, but its new control panel has also made an impression because it is more user friendly than earlier iterations. Another benefit of this piece of equipment is that it uses only one printhead, rather than two. On the old printer, each head lasted just six months to a year, and they cost $450 each. On the new printer, the printhead costs $650, but there is only one to replace in that six-to-12-month period.
Reduced Ink Usage
Another cost-saving feature of the PRO-6000S is its reduced ink usage. Although the shop ran a 12-color iPF9100 previously, Sicklesteel makes it clear that the eight-color machine is printing at the same quality.
“We’re still getting the depth and breadth of color because it still has photo gray and RGB,” she says.
The equipment was installed at the beginning of March, and the shop has transitioned over the work that it was producing on the iPF9100. Sicklesteel explains that the jobs include mostly sandwich board advertising for the student union, graphics department and recreational sports department, as well as signs for temporary parking.
She says that the shop also gets a lot of orders for 3x5-ft. academic signage and poster presentations and that it creates the backlit marquee signs for the theater department’s quarterly productions.
One area that Sicklesteel wants to expand into this summer is fabric work. She envisions that capability being useful to create travel posters for graduate students and faculty. The fabric posters can be folded to fit in a suitcase, rather than necessitating the use of a protective tube.
Although there are many wide-format avenues that can be considered, Sicklesteel explains that the PRO-6000S is a great place to start.
“For the price point, dependability and ease of use, I think it is a very good investment, especially if it’s your first venture into wide-format,” she says.
Related story: ACUP Lesson: Wide-Format is Expanding